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7 Tips for Refreshing Your Home in the New Year

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that home is our sanctuary. With sheltering in place, working from home, and social distancing now firmly a part of our everyday lives, we are spending more time at home than ever before. If the stress of it all has gotten to you, here are some tips to make your space safe, supportive, healthy, and a happy place to be.

Scrub it Down

Household Cleaner and Lemons
Photo by Crema Joe on Unsplash

Do you ever notice how at the end of the weekend your house is a little untidy? It’s only natural that the more time you spend at home, the more unkept it becomes. Blankets in the living room after a few days of lounging on the sofa, piles of dishes or takeout containers in the kitchen, dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. All of these seemingly little things add up to visual, and mental, clutter.

Tackle those items and then go deeper. You don’t have to wait for spring to do a top-to-bottom scrubbing of your home. Focus on one room each week and give it a deep cleaning. Be sure to get those often neglected places like ceiling fans (yes, you need to dust those), windows, and even your light switches. Now more than ever it is important to disinfect anything you touch in your home.

Why do your spring cleaning now? Beyond just the fact that we are still in a pandemic and our homes need it, winter tends to get a lot of people down. The days are shorter and colder, and seasonal affective disorder can kick in. It’s been shown that cleaning your home boosts your mental health. Not just because you have a fresh space to unwind in but because the physical activity releases those important happy endorphins. And doesn’t it feel great checking things off a to-do list? Yes. Yes it does.

Clear Your Closet

Bedroom with mens clothing rack and open storage shelvesIt may seem like closets aren’t an issue when it comes to refreshing your home. After all, the doors are closed and the messes are out of sight, out of mind right? Except they aren’t. Disorganized closets (and dressers) make getting ready each morning a total nightmare. Eventually, that mess will spill out onto the floor.

One of the best ways to get your clothes organized is to sort them by categories such as “everyday,” “seasonal,” and “I forgot I even owned this.” You can probably guess that we are going to tell you to donate that “I forgot I even owned this” pile. Once that is taken care of, make sure your everyday items are in easy reach in top drawers of dressers or at the front of the closet. Seasonal items can be stored away in under-bed totes or bottom drawers, ready to be rotated out once the weather changes.

After you’re done organizing your clothes, turn the hangers so that they face out. When you wear an item and return it to the closet, turn the hanger back in. At the end of the year, any hangers still facing out are items you haven’t worn and can be donated without a second thought, clearing up the clutter and leaving room for new items.

Read more: How to Organize Your Closet

Keep It Clean

What’s the point in deep cleaning your home and organizing your stuff if it’s just going to become a cluttered mess again by next month? The key to keeping your home feeling fresh is having a system in place that will help you stay on track.

Weekly cleanings ensure that seasonal cleaning doesn’t even have to be a thing. When you go food shopping, move old items to the front of shelves and place new items in the back. When meal prepping for the week, take stock of those that items that will be expiring soon and find creative ways to include those in your cooking. This not only clears up clutter, but it will also reduce food waste and save you money.

organized pantry
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Don’t let mail become a mountain on the entry table. Instead, try the OHIO system: Only Handle It Once. There have been some misconceptions around this method, so let’s clear things up. OHIO doesn’t literally mean handling it only one time. Instead, you should assign it somewhere rather than letting it pile up. “Important” items like bills go to your desk, “social” items like invitations go straight onto your calendar, and “trash” items like flyers go to the recycle bin or the shredder. The idea is to sort items right away so they can’t become a pile on your entry table. It’s the same with groceries or anything you buy — sort it as soon as you get home so that clutter never has a chance to form.

So what happens to your desk once the mail and to-do lists and work all land there? Get it organized with the Grovemade Desk Shelf System. Not only will it keep your desk free of clutter, but it’s also transportable and stylish as hell.

Read more: How to Clean Your Home

Make it Work for You

Did your dining table suddenly become your home office in 2020? So did ours. Many people were unprepared to be working from home for an extended period of time and our homes have reflected that. If your place does not have a designated room that you can turn into an office, no worries. You can piece together a functional and stylish workspace that will transform back into living space when the clock hits five.

Check out the Transformer Table. Appearing on the market right when we needed it most, this table smoothly transitions from tiny two-seater to a fully extended banquet table that can hold up to twelve. Transformer Table lets you go from office to dinner in just a few easy moves.

If your living room is your workspace, find pieces that can do double duty like the Upholstered Base Storage Ottoman from West Elm. The hardwood top is a great place for spreading out work files and once you’re done for the day, it can easily hide your laptop, paperwork, and any other office items you don’t want to look at once you clock out.

Add Bold, Bright Art

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health. It is not just the worry and stress of Covid-19, but being stuck inside and not socializing with friends and family can cause additional stress, depression, and fatigue. One easy way to lift spirits is by bringing some bright, bold colors into your space, and the easiest way to do that is with a new piece of artwork. Artwork Gallery Wall Refresh Your Home

Look pieces that compliment your own style and add colors that you don’t already have in your décor. A new piece of art can improve your mood and increase mental stimulation. Avoid trendy pieces and focus on artwork that speaks directly to you and as Tom Haverford would say “makes you feel something”. Whether its a collection of small pieces for a gallery wall or one oversized statement piece, be sure to hang your new art in a prominent spot where you can see it every day. That could be above the fireplace in the living room, on that big blank wall in the dining room, or on the wall across from your bed so you wake up to it each day.

Shopping for artwork in a pandemic can be tricky since many galleries are closed, but luckily there is a one-stop-shop for the perfect piece for your home. Minted lets you shop by style, color, and size making it easy to find what you’re looking for. If you really want a bold statement piece, look under the “abstract” category and again focus on pieces that speak to you and lift your spirits.

Keep It Simple

It’s a bit chaotic out there in the real world. Now more than ever, your home should be your sanctuary. One way to create a soothing space is to simply it. Sure the Maximalism trend is tons of fun, but not many people can thrive in a visually stimulating environment. Create a calm space by editing out unnecessary items. Take out decor that doesn’t “spark joy”, simplify your color palette, and bring in some cozy textures. Add a plush rug under your desk, drape a luxuriously soft throw onto your sofa, and grab some woven planter baskets for your plant babies. You do have plant babies don’t you? No? Well then that brings us to the seventh and final tip.

Add Life to Your Space (Literally)

Adding plants to your home is yet another proven way to boost your mood and overall health. There is much joy to be found in caring for plants. It is exciting to watch them thrive and bloom knowing you did that. There is also the added benefit that plants keep our homes healthy by scrubbing the air and giving us fresh clean oxygen in return. Plus that pop of green is a great mood booster (green is one of the most calming colors!). Shelf filled with Succulents and Cacti

If caring for plants is new to you, check out our guide to the best unkillable houseplants that will add life to your space without having to worry you’ll kill them in the first week.

If you have been keeping track of trendy plants in recent years, you have most likely heard of the infamous fiddle leaf fig. As popular as it was, people quickly realized it is quite finicky and not at all easy to care for. Luckily a new plant is taking the reigns and it is the perfect indoor tree.

The hot plant for 2021 is the olive tree. While at first it may seem strange to put a tree in your house any time of the year other than Christmas, the olive tree thrives inside the warm indoor environment. There is also something to be said for the symbolism of having an olive tree — the peace it represents is something the world could use a whole lot of right now and it’s a great way to add a bit of happiness to your home.

Read more: Best Indoor Plants 

Editors' Recommendations

Kelsey Machado
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kelsey is a professional interior designer with over a decade of experience in the design field. With a passion for…
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